Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Sydney, Australia
Re: Olivia Rogowska
Great article on Olivia on the TA Website today:
It's been a busy month for 16-year-old Olivia Rogowska. Just hours after stepping off a flight from Italy, Olivia is at Rod Laver Arena where former Australian Davis Cup Captain Neale Fraser is waiting to congratulate the Optus Australian Junior Davis and Junior Fed Cup teams on their recent success in Italy. As if this isn't enough, there is TV, newspaper and magazine journalists waiting to interview Victoria's newest tennis stars.
Like a true pro, Olivia happily answers questions and poses for photos with the impressive silverware she's helped secure in Reggio Emilia. Her bubbly personality, positive outlook and enthusiasm made her an instant favourite with the assembled media.
At a time when precocious talents all too regularly command the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, it's refreshing to meet an up-and-coming player who is dedicated to maximising her potential.
The junior Fed Cup win was no small feat. Olivia, along with Sally Peers (Vic.) and Isabella Holland (Qld) had to play some tough matches against the top teams in the world. Led by team captain Louise Pleming, Olivia, Sally and Isabella took on all challengers and came out on top.
For Olivia, the trip was an invaluable experience. "I was so excited [to win] and so happy, it was great work from all of us. We all supported each other really well and we acted as a really good team, so that's definitely what helped us get through."
It was Olivia's first time representing Australia, so she only played one match (a tough three-set singles loss against Russia), but she played a big role in supporting her teammates.
"I was involved quite a bit and I was working very hard over there … I still had lots of fun and I was still very tense, just like the other girls. And I was tired at the end of the day, just like them," Olivia explains.
For the three girls it was an exhilarating, but exhausting time. "It was completely full on,' says Olivia. ‘We left for the courts at 7 o'clock in the morning and got back at 7 o'clock at night and we were just absolutely exhausted and didn't have time to do any school work."
The chance to travel and sample the culture other countries have to offer is something that Olivia would like to experience more of. While in Italy she fell in love with the country's food and people, and took over 400 pictures.
Olivia's selection for the Junior Fed Cup team came after selectors noticed her impressive results in Victoria's winter competition – pennant – along with standout performances at the Nationals and on the pro circuit.
She plays and trains at Royal South Yarra Tennis Club where she has been a scholarship holder for the past few years. She is coached there by Andrew McLean, who has been her coach since Olivia took up tennis at the age of five.
Training sessions are conducted twice a day, for one-and-a-half to two hours per session. "It's really tough, he always makes me run really hard," says Olivia.
To fit in this strict training schedule, Olivia completes her school work via home school. Currently she is studying Year 10 and has been home schooled since the beginning of Year 7. "I wouldn't be able to train if I had to go to school, so that [home schooling] was the only option for me."
It's a big sacrifice to make, but one that Olivia doesn't regret. She says she has missed going to school with students her own age ‘a little bit', but she doesn't feel as if she has missed anything by not going to school.
"That was the one sacrifice [going to high school], but I've got lots of good friends in tennis, so that makes up for it," she says.
Outside of tennis Olivia is much like any other teenager. She enjoys reading, listening to music (all types), playing the piano and spending time with her family. The only difference is one day Olivia could be playing the game she loves in front of millions
Ultimately, Olivia would like to break into the top 20 and play at the French Open, because "it looks like the most beautiful tournament".
For now though, Olivia will continue to train, study and prepare herself for her next challenge – "to travel as much as I can, try to go as well as possible in all the tournaments I play and get a big ranking … and get noticed on the tennis court".
With her outlook and ability that shouldn't be a problem.